Women are increasingly the target of agricultural development programs aimed at reducing poverty and food insecurity, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Some feminist scholars argue that such efforts are driven more by concerns about the efficient use of resources than the rights of women and do little to transform gendered power relations. We examine how development interventions that target women affect household well-being, especially food insecurity, empower women, and transform gendered power relations. Our study uses the case of the Gates Foundation funded East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) program in Uganda. Our methods include the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index survey and in-depth interviews of women farmers and key informants, within the EADD program. We argue that the livestock sector provides critical insights into women's empowerment because livestock are not “socially neutral” in their gendered effects. Our study found that: (1) ownership of dairy cows enhanced important dimensions of women's empowerment and gender equity that benefited women and households; (2) women's labor responsibilities for dairy cows disempowered some women by increasing their time poverty and; (3) ownership of dairy cows provided a means for women to disrupt entrenched social norms related to gender roles within the household and agriculture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science